July 02, 2010 12:31:35am
Re: Why do you bring small children to a 'show ' ?
Before I read this far I was thinking about how this is somewhat similar to the dog issue at festivals. I remember going to local festivals before dogs pretty much got banned at all of them and there would always be the scary moments when Tommy Tough Guy would be strollin thru with his big mean Pit Bull and two dogs would get into it (I love Pits, btw, I've met some who are the nicest, wussiest dogs you'd ever meet, but there are a large majority of people who get them because they think they're tough and they teach them to be mean. plus dogs just fight, it happens). And you'd see some of these poor creatures tied to trees with no water, panting and panting and overstimulated by all of the people, other dogs, loud sounds/music, etc. I think the same type of thing happens with children at festivals all too often.
One time a friend I was camping with brought her dog, she had those real codependent dogs that wouldn't eat or sleep for days if she left them with someone else, so she "had" to bring them. She wandered off to go party and had her dog tied to a tree and the thing barked for HOURS and HOURS one night. We were all starting to get just a little pissed...I mean I love the gal but that night I was about ready to strangle her AND the dog lol. And I'm the most animal loving, vegetarian, animal rights type guy you'd ever meet.
Ha anyway, as for kids, I don't have any, so all I can comment on is how I feel about other people bringing theirs...I dunno, I've seen responsible people who are attentive bring their children to festivals, and most of the kids really seemed to enjoy it.
One friend in particular almost always brings her 2 young boys (they were around 5 and 10 when they first started going, something like that, now they're like 8 and 14 or something) with her to the local "Schwagstock" festivals that I've mentioned a few times on here lately, and they always looked forward to it and had a blast. Sometimes you could tell that having to be mommy was getting tiresome for her, when the event was supposed to be her "vacation" and a place to have fun. Fortunately she was a responsible mother, she never drank or anything like that and kept a good eye on her kids. We also had a fairly large group of people at our campsite, many of them older and parents themselves, so the kids were always supervised and had plenty of entertainment. Occasionally though it was an inconvenience for the rest of us...I'm a night person by nature and always go to bed around 6 am, so occasionally I would be getting ready to go to bed around 7 or so and the kids would be getting up for the day and she wasn't quite ready to be mommy yet so I'd have to keep one of em entertained for a while till she could get up and going. I generally don't care too much for children when it's 7 am and I'm tired and wanting to go to bed, but I'm not going to just leave them.
Funny story-I rode down to an event with her and her two boys one time (3 hours of "hey Jim, guess what? me: what? "POOPIE PANTS!!!" got a little old after a while...). The older one was asking us a LOT of questions on the way down, little things about why do people dress like this or that, why do they have dreadlocks, etc. One of his questions was "hey mom, what's a bong?" Mom then proceeded to explain very casually about how one works. I think her son was far more fascinated by the science of it and how the water works and all that than he was about actual pot smoking.
That is one thing for me about bringing kids to festivals, I think their age and supervision are the most important concerns. I would feel more comfortable having an 8 year old with me who was with me all the time, as opposed to a tween who wants to run off by themselves. At that age, these kids are REALLY curious about all the things they are seeing, and I know there are dealers out there who wouldn't think twice about selling drugs to an 11, 12, 13 year old. Some twisted freak might do it just for fun...I remember an occasion or two where people dosed these cats that lived on the property where they hold the Schwagstocks. One of them was the pet of a friend of mine who was an employee down there at the time, the poor cat died and he was really broken up by it, understandably.
My ex-girlfriend and some of our friends pushed for a kids activity area at the festivals, little art projects like "make your own hula hoops" and stuff like that. Unfortunately funding was very low and volunteers hard to find. People tend to take advantage of something like that and think it's a babysitting service they can just drop their little ones off at while they go play themselves. That wasn't the case...children were supposed to be supervised, it was just something fun for them to do. But in general I think parents are going to bring kids to festivals anyway, and a lot of festivals sortof invite them that way, by having "family camps" and quiet areas and billing events as "all ages," etc. So I think that they really should put some funding and manpower towards making a place to have fun activities for children. Not necessarily a daycare, but just an activity area where they require parental supervision and enforce it as best they can.
That reminds me of another issue, the medical unit. I spent a lot of time down there at the Schwagstocks and you would frequently have a missing kid spend a few hours down there until their parent/s shows up. Some of the parents didn't seem to care that they lost their kid/s for a few hours and seemed to think that the medical unit was a good daycare. I think anyone with any sense knows that a medical unit at a hippie festival is NOT a good place for children, there are a lot of scary things they might see. Plus some of the people there are flat out unpredictable and dangerous.
I'm generally pretty liberal minded about little ones being exposed to people smoking dope, that sort of thing, but having REALLY intoxicating people around them can be pretty scary. At the same time, it can be educational, like the other poster who said those kind of people make for a good "this is what happens..." warning for their children. Honestly that's probably a much more effective and realistic drug prevention program than those stupid commercials on tv...but in general, it just seems to feel like a bad idea, if anything because sometimes those kinds of people can scare or in some cases actually physically harm a kid, whether they intended to or not...plus a lot of people feel self-concious smoking around children and such...hell I don't even cuss when I'm around children (though I prolly wouldn't care if people cussed in front of mine, they'd prolly be used to me calling them little sons of bitches and whatnot. lol just kidding), I would feel 10 times as bad using illegal substances around them.
Anywho, I've really only addressed festivals, not one night concerts and such, which has similarities to a festival but also a lot of differences. Like most people said, I think a lot of it depends on venue, band, and seating location. I think most kids might have a pretty good time back on the lawn at an outdoor show. Not all, though. A lot of kids don't take as well to heat and such as adults, and they might be pretty miserable. I think it's really important to keep them hydrated and close to you at all times, no matter their age. And for godsakes don't get piss drunk and all that. I've seen these parents that will be pretty stoned, dancing around with an infant in their arms, up near the front area of the stage. I don't even care if you're sober, you might be really responsible, but at a rock concert, not everyone around you is as responsible. Accidents happen. A kid sleeping on a blanket late in the show might not be seen all that well and can get stepped on. Dancing spunions burn enough adults with lit cigarettes, and a five year old his about eye level with an adult's hand...I don't think you should completely shelter your kid and keep them on lockdown or anything, but I think that it's probably a good idea to keep the REALLY young ones at home (anywhere from birth to 8 or 9 maybe).
When I was around 8 years old, my mother took my sister and I to a Whitney Houston concert (my first ever concert). I have very little memory of it, but I do know that I actually fell asleep towards the end and missed her big finale, "I wanna dance with somebody." I'm still so pissed that I missed that... But anyway we were in a big arena, there was no smoke or excessive drunkeness, etc, and it was ok. Not long after that, my mom took me to see Uriah Heep with Grand Funk Railroad. Back in the 80's my mom worked with one of the guys in the Heep and he used to get her free tickets and backstage passes to local shows a lot (we actually have pictures of my mom and sister "partying" backstage with Christian Metal Band "Stryper..." and we actually thought that was cool in 1988...). That show was also somewhat low-key, you had to stay in your seats, no smoking, etc. I thought it was kinda cool.
Anyway my point is, shows like that I think are pretty safe environments for small children. Sure, drug use and a drunk or two is gonna happen at pretty much every rock concert, but I think certain bands/genres are going to bring more possible trouble. I mean I wouldn't take my (imaginary) 5 year old to a metal show with a mosh pit. But I'd have no problem taking him to a Hall and Oates concert. I think GD type shows are a fine line... I mean I would LOVE to expose my kid to the music, and there are a lot of really nice, down to earth, caring, kind people. But...there are also a lot of really screwed up jackasses, too. personally, I think I would leave my kids at home...they'd prolly have more fun watching Spongebob with the babysitter, and I'd probably have more fun knowing they're safe at home and that I didn't have to worry about them all night while I got my crunk on.
This post was modified by Jim F on 2010-07-02 07:31:35